Citi Still Citi, Even In Trumperica

In these uncertain times, it's comforting that we can rely on Citi to lag behind its peers.
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By mattbuck [CC BY-SA 2.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By mattbuck (category) (Own work by mattbuck.) [CC BY-SA 2.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s safe to say that the House of Corbat has been a little more bullish (or less bearish, as it were) on President Trump than its Wall Street peers.

It didn’t have to very publicly ban political contributions from its top executives to prevent them from being covered in Trump stink, or previously employing the wife of the president-elect’s least favorite Republican opponent. Nor did it have the fees on an $85.4 billion merger riding With Her.

Nope: Citigroup was the FiveThirtyEight of the banking world, giving His Orangeness a 30% chance of victory even after that—now apparently insignificant—video of him bragging about his less-than-impressive methods of sexual conquest. But is it rewarded for this clairvoyance? For its ability to remain on the fence and not get on President Trump’s bad side? Has it hell.

Because even as global stocks inexplicably soar, and especially the stocks of those banks so dearly beloved to Trump’s rural heartland voters, on account of the impending death of Dodd-Frank, Ol' Number Three is left, as so often, picking up the scraps.

The bank was up nearly 3% Wednesday mid-afternoon, which under normal circumstances would be a good day. But its big-bank peers were all up 5% or more, with Wells Fargo & Co. and Morgan Stanley both trading more than 6% higher.

Now, the markets may not know much. After all, what looked like a nascent depression on Tuesday night has become a new economic golden age. But it does know that Citi is a bit too cosmopolitan—and Mexican—for the new era of isolationism and protectionism at hand.

Citigroup recently said it would be investing $1 billion in its Mexico retail bank and executives have called the country a key growth area. But Mr. Trump has vowed to build a border wall, and the peso suffered on news of the Republican nominee’s victory.

Jefferies LLC analyst Ken Usdin said in a note Wednesday that protectionist policies “could have bigger implications for Citi (as least sentimentally).” About half of Citigroup’s revenue comes from outside the U.S., excluding businesses the bank is in the process of dumping.

According to Mr. Usdin, non-U.S. revenue as a percentage of the total was about 21% at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and 13% at Bank of America last year.

Citigroup Finds Itself on the Fence of Trump-Inspired Bank Stock Rally [WSJ]
Wall Street extends Trump rebound [FT]
Bank Stocks in Europe Soar [WSJ]

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